Monday, March 31, 2008

Reality Check - Take 2

The flame-throwing has already begun at my post yesterday about the effect of injuries on the Islanders' season.

My thesis was not a commentary on the woes of the power play or the struggle to score goals.

Please allow me to take another shot at it.

My position was simply this:

With the knowledge that Ted Nolan gets as much out of his players as any coach in the league...

If Sim, Sillinger, Campoli, Witt, Sutton, Gervais and Martinek had not gone down for significant blocks of games, do you really not think the Islanders would be in the playoff hunt this week?

6 comments:

isles4 said...

Chris,
As a long time Islanders fan, I can understand your comments on the injuries this year.
However, it does not cover up the fact that this is not a very good team. Even if all of those guys were healthy, the Islanders would be still struggling to reach the final playoff berth in the Eastern conference. This team does not have any skilled players. There is not one legitimate 30 goal scorer on the team (Bill Guerin was, but, not at his age now). THe NHL is now younger, and faster. You cannot win with a full team of "lunch pale" players who all score 10-20 goals. Ted Nolan is a great coach, but, if they do not get any skilled players, coaches such as Al Arbour and Scotty Bowman in their prime would not be able to improve this team.

7th Woman said...

If ONLY Campoli, Witt and Gervais were healthy, the season would not be ending this week! Marty actually lasted longer this year than most, and we can't predict what sort of season Sim would have had. But I'm sure I'd still be planning for hockey games instead of softball tournaments in April had just three of them been still on the ice.

James said...

Hey Chris, I appreciate what you do and this response is anything but personal. Yet I disagree about Sim and Sillinger. One is a boarder-line 20-goal scorer and the other is a third to fourth line winger. To say those two would help overcome the lack of goal of scoring is a stretch. Honestly, Chris, is this year’s team as good as last year’s group? I don’t think it’s anywhere close, and last year’s club required a nearly historic push just to get the eighth seed.

This year’s team is being outscored by nearly 50 goals, and the problem is mostly on the offensive end. Plus, you can’t just plug in last year’s goal-scoring numbers and say your goal total would improve by that sum. If both were in the lineup, that would have cut someone like Richard Park’s ice time, so his goal might have been lower.

Defense isn’t really the culprit, so the main issue to the deplorable finish is either A) the players Snow brought in grossly performed below your expectations or B)you readily admit that the current group performed to expectations and the Islanders simply didn’t acquire enough quality players to compete for the Stanley Cup. Which one is it?

Every year the front office sells fans on the upside, but the reality is this: for this team to make a deep playoff run, you need 8-9 different players to have career seasons. This type of best-case scenario planning is a recipe for disaster. If injuries are the reason why you can’t finish in the top 8, then pack up the bags now. Every team goes through injuries during an 82-game season, and the bottom line is the Islanders top flight forwards (Guerin, Comrie, Hunter) have been in the lineup for the vast majority of the season. Granted, Brendan Witt’s absence hurt the team; he’s a gritty player who adds a lot of valuable minutes. But the Islanders fell out of the playoff race with him in the lineup.

It’s just one excuse after another. You say injuries now because the salary cap negates the old favorite “small-market teams can’t spend with the big boys” argument. If players didn’t get hurt, you’d probably complain about how the Islanders have to play in such a tough division. Every other team plays under the same conditions. No more excuses.

tphild said...

I agree with you Chris that if those players had been healthy and not missed the time they did, the Isles would be still in the playoff hunt. That being said, the team did not have any room for mistakes either. I think Garth is going to do the right thing with the team as well. But he relied too much on getting career years from guys like Fedotenko, Sim, Comrie and such, and didn't get them. From the start, the team could not afford to have an off game. They wouldn't have gotten as far as they did without Ted Nolan. Other teams have more offensive talent that could make up for, in some way, for the loss of those players. Garth has done well in getting those "character players" that every team needs, nut now he has to get those players that put the puck in if this team is going to get anywhere past the first round.

islesfan said...

OK, for those of you complaining about third line talent, have you all forgotten where the Isles were at the all star break? They were in the hunt and looking up at the time. Sure scoring was down, in fact, the Isles were deadlocked with the Rangers at the time in goal production. Then DP hurt his hip and his GAA soared. Take out the rest of the blueline and you have a team that falls out of playoff contention. You may recall that the Isles led the league in one goal wins? They had the defense to compensate for the offense. Take that away, and all you have is a team that can't score. That's it, so stop your complaining about Snow and get ready for next year!

NYIsles1/IslesTigers said...

Agree with all the comments about the lack of scoring, not using injuries as an excuse, a brutal powerplay and a collective roster that in the end was not good enough on paper.

Having written that Isles still won six games in a row before everything caught finally up with them. The scoring problems could have/should have finished them scoring two goals or less in fourteen straight but it did not.

Anyone who goes back and watches DiPietro's games from the all-star break on will see the goals were great plays by the opposition, not poor goaltending.

How many games did DiPietro give them any chance at all? The Devils game after the winning streak, both games in Montreal he kept them in it.

You see 4-1 and Greg Logan runs to the stats and some of you jump all over it. It's like blaming a defender for a minus ten who is never involved in the play that leads to a goal against.

It's like the ot loss in Minnesota he stood on his head but gave up for goals, does anyone think he played poorly?

Even strength play and ability to get games to ot were huge this year too.

As to Mr Botta's question would this team be in contention now wihtout the injuries, it's fair to write they only got eliminated a week ago WITH the injuries so why would they not be in contention now?

Meanwhile in March they beat every team in the division at least once and even now have played every game very competitive aside from Tampa and even that was a close game until the final minutes.

Not like Isles are losing games 6-1
they have been giving the other clubs all they can handle with a lineup full of prospects and AHL callups.

How can anyone say they would not be in contention?

Meanwhile some of you may not have noticed but this is not like other seasons.

Isles have worked in a lot of young players between Comeau, Bergenheim, with Tambellini, Okposo, and who knows where it goes with Colliton, Nielsen and a lot of other players who are getting very close.

You add that to Gervais, Campoli on the backline and it's obvious things are headed in the right direction.